Romney gifts the election to Obama, and unwittingly highlights the Western economic dilemma

The stupefying video gaffe from Mitt Romney may nevertheless make some people think harder about employment

The general feeling shared by those with a degree of discernment (and an eye to his previous behaviour) has been, for some time, that Mitt Romney is really nothing more than just another greedy neocon working to complete the privatisation of American government.

In one of those potentially election changing moments, last night later on (BST) a video of Romney mouthing off about the idle unemployed “the 47% of Americans who pay no tax” came to light and went viral in no time flat. Across the US media set, the general view as I write (it’s been a long day involving different time zones) is that either the GOP dumps him and drafts another candidate, or the election is now Obama’s to lose. It’s hard to disagree with that.

Both the percentage used (and the “no tax” jibe) are bollocks – another urban myth that the numbers deny from pretty much every angle. But like him or loathe him – and personally I can’t stand the bloke or his ideas – he does have a point, and Conservative politicians have made exactly the same point in the UK…also with some justification.

A left-of-centre Party in any major democracy enjoying a welfare system is always at a ‘dependence’ advantage, in two ways: first, they pay the salaries of around 1 in 6 of those in work who are Government employees; and second, they pay out benefits to those stubbornly economically inactive folks who represent a staggering 3 out of ten of all adults aged 16-64. In the UK, for example, that gives the Labour Party a much higher chance of allegiance from some 41% of all voters.

Those tonight calling Romney every name under the sun are probably right to, but not on this issue necessarily: Ben Bernanke made it clear in his QE3 address that he feared a growing number of Americans were joining the ‘structurally unemployed’ – what we in the UK call LTUs – long-term unemployed.

The sad reality is that it suits the Democratic and Labour Parties to have lots of poor folks thinking it’s damned unfair they’re not one of the rich folks. But even assuming either of those Parties have the calculated desire to ‘breed loyalty’, Romney was a prize ass to have said what he said at a public gathering – whether it was behind closed doors or not.

So that’s enough being nice about Mitt: I’ve had my long-held view that he’s a tax-dodging, simplistic bigot sort of confirmed by this, and I cannot help enjoying a wry smile of expectation about how Dan Hannan will talk his way out of the revelation. However, I do think an interesting economic point has been raised here.

As I mentioned last week, on the two occasions the British Coalition government has introduced welfare rationalisations and cuts, around 175,000 previously inactive people suddenly became active again each time. And nobody – but nobody – can deny that a massive influx of Polish workers into the UK that began eight years ago all found paid work…despite the existence of over 1.5 unemployed Brits even then.

I think that what’s being demonstrated is the fundamental flaw in both the libero-socialist and neocon outlooks. Left of centre governments increase unproductive bureaucracy and make life better on welfare than their Right wing opponents. Having 2 in 5 people contributing nothing to the economy (and a further 1 in 10 retired) means only half the population are engaged in keeping the show on the road.

However, what neocon claptrap has done is (a) make fewer people far more wealthy, (b) increase the pool of unemployed, and (c) reduce the real wages of the ‘squeezed middle’ between those taking the piss at the top, and those muddling along with a workless existence at the bottom.

Thus between them, the fluffies and the nasties have made it well-nigh impossible to get an economic recovery kick-started. Hence Ben debanker pumping dollars out all over the place. And Mervyn King. And Mario Draghi. And all to little or no effect.

I reached the stage late last year of realising that the unwillingness of the Establishment Parties and bureaucrats to recognise this obvious problem meant that sites like The Slog would be whispering in a thunderstorm at 3am when nobody’s around to listen anyway….assuming they wanted to in the first place.

I keep on churning out this stuff purely to get a larger and larger number of opinion formers and leaders interested in the idea of radical constitutional and economic reform before it’s too late, and the Barbarians sack the legislatures. But really, I still believe the best way to effect lasting change is to make life difficult for those who hold the real power in both the US and the UK: the civil servants, the bankers, the multinationals, and the media.

For what it’s worth, I’ve just put up a new page called AIMS that enumerates the key things I’d like to change. Pay it a visit and see what you think.

Related: Socialists and Neocons divide and rule

36 thoughts on “Romney gifts the election to Obama, and unwittingly highlights the Western economic dilemma

  1. ” And nobody – but nobody – can deny that a massive influx of Polish workers into the UK that began eight years ago all found paid work…despite the existence of over 1.5 unemployed Brits even then.”

    I don’t have any sort of link, but I do seem to recall seeing figures that show there are more unemployed eastrn europeans in the UK per capita than Indigenous Brits.


  2. It’s a winning strategy it you don’t have the skills to compete in the global economy vote for me because I will take care of you. We will print all the money necessary until whatever happens next actually happens, and may God bless you my fellow Americans in the interim.


  3. “Having 2 in 5 people contributing nothing to the economy (and a further 1 in 10 retired) means only half the population are engaged in keeping the show on the road.”

    I take exception to this bald statement John. Even unemployed or retired folks pay tax in the form of VAT and things like duty on fuel and alcohol etc. Pensioners still have council tax to pay and stamp duty if they move house. Therefore you can hardly say they are contributing nothing and they certainly are still helping to keep the show on the road.

    Please also remember that pension income is taxable. In fact it is double taxation as any contributions were taken out of taxed income. State Pensions are paid out of general taxation so the governement gets 2 bites of that particular cherry. And you could say that pensioners are still contributing to their pensions by all the taxes they still have to pay into that pool of general taxes.


  4. Time for me to bang my eccentric drum again; and only two other comments before you get here.

    Sweep away all benefits, entitlements and pensions. Every one. A real ‘Carthaginian Peace’.

    Then, for all English people (as defined), introduce a universal benefit of £1500 a month (£18000 pa).subject to recipients being in employment,,
    education, or training, for 44 weeks in every calendar year; or be a mother with children (0-20) or over 60.

    Everybody gets the same, scrap most of the non-productive Departments of State, and no more welfare dependents.

    I know, I know. Utopian beyond belief. But better than what we’ve got, or are being offered. And a great deal cleverer than anything being offered by ObamaBernanke, MerkelSchauble, or DraghiBarosso. And simply inconceivable to the present ConLib government, who seem not to have had a new idea in their lives


  5. That was probably a result of an EU decision that they must be eligible for UK benefits. That coincided with the arrival of Bulgarians and Romanians who lack the skills and work ethic of the Poles.


  6. OK but the 2 in 5 i.e., 40 per cent pay no income tax and usually have a deal on council tax.

    Romney, who I loath, was not that far off the mark. He just phrased it clumsily, as is his wont. More than 40 per cent in the US pay no income tax and only 56 per cent of the population of working age are indeed working.


  7. Did you know most council tax benefit recipients and housing benefit/local housing allowance recipients are actually in work? They just don’t earn enough because wages are too low and employers exploit the tax credits availability to their advantage knowing that low wages will be topped-up by the state.


  8. Wrong, pension contributions come from gross income and tax is calculated on the balance. Pensioners are not taxed twice, and the rates that they now pay are lower than the rates prevalent during much of their contribution time. See rates in the 1970’s, often far higher than now. Of course everyone pays indirect taxation and duties on fuel, booze and fags and some people have to pay council tax and stamp duty. The fact that duties and VAT are constantly increasing reflects the larger base of those imposts and the fact that they are quite a lot harder to dodge than income tax. Governments of all kinds like that. But there are a lot of working age people who contribute a minimal amount to the economy, and what they contribute largely comes from the state in the form of subsidies. I think it is those that JW is talking about. I would add the tax dodgers, who are legion around these parts.


  9. This is a disingenious claim about Poles. When they came over, they lived very basic lives turning every room into accommodation with bunk beds etc etc – my neighbours, living in a 2 bed flat above a shop, had 10 working adults living in there working at the local chicken plant. They also ate the cheapest food the could, never went out and saved every penny. As a result they contributed little to the economy other than driving wages down and rents up for the indigenous local workers and as soon as they had saved enough money they scarpered back to Poland to open their relative small business etc. I got quite matey with some of them – even thhough they couldn’t speak English (but up a bit of welsh quite easily strangely), because they used to come round to watch the footie on my Sky, use my internet to book flights and do cash transfers back to Poland. Most were – despite working in a chicken plant, skilled workers. One was a fully qualified BMW mechanic. They weren’t the slightest bit interested in staying, they just wanted 2 years work, even at minimum wage, then away.

    One racket they were inviolved in was flying back to one way to Poland for their holidays and coming back via ferry with a cheap car with Polish plates on that they had bought for cash and then either selling it on for cash – no paperwork to a local or taking it to Ireland and doing it there. Plenty of people bought them because they were traceless, therefore there was no road tax, no worry about parking tickets, speeding fines and they probably weren’t even insured either. Something to bear in mind – a large chunk of the Polish registered cars you saw back then were probably being driven by the indiginous population.


  10. The moment you start that, parliament will be besieged by those with ‘special needs’, ranging from large families with small incomes to those with disabilities and the long term unemployed. The amount you mention is so far below the level of benefits that millions enjoy (and here I include housing benefit) that I wonder if you know that a large number of people are currently receiving at least £35k per year, free of direct taxes. You cannot have a simple system without a dictatorship; MP’s crave votes and the special interests know that. Hence the unbelievable complexity of our current welfare state and its astonishing generosity, at least to some. And don’t let’s fall into the age old mistake of forgetting housing benefit. It is real and very, very big. ‘They only have £80/wk to live on’. Oh yes, plus £200/wk as a rent subsidy!


  11. “either the GOP dumps him and drafts another candidate, or the election is now Obama’s to lose.”

    Ron Paul: back in the game!


  12. The people that ‘enjoy’ housing benefits are the landlords. £8Bn a year goes to private sector landlords and most of the recipients are actually in work.

    Therefore to reduce the housing benefits bill, you need to legislate and regulate private sector rent.


  13. The immigrants take jobs at low pay,below which Brits can survive and because they do they then receive housing,transport benefits unattainable to Brits,the employers are the real winners and why these advantages have not been removed from benefit reform


  14. “Don’t refer to the British as ‘English’. That is racist.”

    I despair. What absolute rubbish. Back to the usual ‘if I can’t win an argument by fair means I ‘ll use foul’. It isn’t racist it is specific and in spite of the best efforts of the lunatic PC crowd to make that a crime as well, it isn’t yet. Who cares whether your Welsh? Are you sensitive about it perhaps, if so why?


  15. Oh for heavens sake. Where in the comment you were criticising did he insult the Welsh? He didn’t mention the Welsh, is that what offends you? Or are you saying I insulted you because you are Welsh, I said I don’t care if you are Welsh, is that insulting, how? Do you have any idea at all what you are talking about? Perhaps if you read back over the comments you will be able to rectify your paranoia. But even if you can’t please consider that this Site discusses serious stuff generally without resorting to seeking to damn contributions by attaching nasty labels where not appropriate.

    Whilst doing so perhaps you can educate the rest of us what you mean in your other comment by ‘the welfare Class’ and whilst you are at it give us the links to prove your assertion that they (the Welfare Class) don’t vote. Never mind you claiming that if it were true it would suit the Right. Who on the Right has ever supported Welfare which surely they would wish to do if what you say is true?

    I don’t have any idea what you are talking about, do you?


  16. “You insult my nationality by lumping me in with the English.”

    Let’s deal with this one separately so as to be sure of getting it right. Unless I am mistaken you are offended to be thought of as English. That can only be because you are in some way better than the English and the English therefore in someway worse than the Welsh. By nationality. By your own definition you would be racist by saying it. By mine it is just rubbish.

    People who are too quick tyo smear and label have done irreperable harm to this country as a whole. It appears you are one of them. Shame on you.


  17. The MSM jumped in no time to call this the “smoking-gun-kinsley-gaffe-that-gave-away-the-election-to-Obama”. It’s not that they’re not trying hard to help the big guy in the White House: polls oversampling Democrats, shutting completely down what’s really going on on the Middle East, and of course, laser-focusing on Romney’s “gaffes”: His alleged misstatements on the Libya debacle got a lot more airtime (not to mention that the journalists got caught on tape coordinating their attacks on the presidential hopeful) than the fact that the attacks on embassies and consulates were à propos 9/11 and not an anti-prophet video (of course it was later used as an excuse). There is hard evidence that the secretary of state had prior knowledge of these coordinated attacks. Did Mrs. Clinton or Barack Obama something about it? Of course not. Did the MSM denounce this? Of course not. They were already busy shredding the tax dodger to pieces.

    They did nothing and people died.

    Now James Earl Carter IV helps the cause leaking a video in which Romney talks candidly (gasp!) about the welfare state and the victim mentality of the Democrats’ clientele and people start thinking the election is over? As I said, polls favoring Obama are oversampling Democrats, even by 13 points. And as I said, the MSM went all-out for Obama.

    This is nothing more and nothing else than a psy-war op to discourage conservatives and republicans by declaring the election over (It’s not the first time, after the Democrat convention it was the same thing).

    We should wait for election day.


  18. The subjects of the UK are British. To refer to them as ‘English’ is an arrogance and insulting to the people of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. When you talk about ‘English’ you refer to those people who come from England – thus you cannot mean the British and you cannot mean the Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish. Shame on you for either not knowing that or being to arrogant to realise how insulting it is to use the wrong term.

    As for whether the Welfare class vote, you are either not a UK subject or you have absolutely no idea about voter demographics in the UK. You may find that spending several days reading these and the associated links will be of some help to you being as this seems to have come as a surprise. Another urban myth is that immigrants vote. Immigrants are less likely to vote than the indiginous population.


  19. Incidentally, the welfare class (again as you are seemingly unaware of even the basics in this) are the longterm unemployed who due to age, family circumstance etc are virtually now unemployable, those on long term benefits such as Incapacity benefits and other nicjhe claimants.longterm benefit dependents. You may find this of assistance.


  20. I must be a rare breed ,I am a Scot that loves to see the English football team do well, but when it comes to Rugby I support Scotland every time ,also one of the few Tory voters left here ,we are a dying clan , love to spend my holidays in England ,we had a lovely week in Preston in August


  21. “The subjects of the UK are British. To refer to them as ‘English’ is an arrogance and insulting to the people of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. When you talk about ‘English’ you refer to those people who come from England – thus you cannot mean the British and you cannot mean the Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish. Shame on you for either not knowing that or being to arrogant to realise how insulting it is to use the wrong term.”

    You are inventing the argument and making it up as you go along.

    You assume that the original contributor intended to refer to the UK, but you don’t know that he did. Given that his, to use his own words ‘eccentric’ suggestion, had absolutely no merit and were of the ‘Animal Farm’ type ‘Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others’ nightmare scenario, were I from a part of the UK not mentioned by him, I’d be mightily relieved. Perhaps, knowing that there were sensitivities out there he was considerate in only applying the proposed nightmare to the English.

    But whichever the case, you argued that he omitted to mention the Welsh (oh and Scots et al in case you are offended if I don’t mention them too) and you are offended by that omission and because you are offended it was racist. I note this time around you have dropped the word racist, perhaps you now accept that it might have been careless, or ill considered or all manner of things but it wasn’t racist. No doubt you thought you were being clever by using a very powerful word to belittle a contributor. But in fact you were abusing and therefore devaluing a vital tool in the very necessary fight against bullying, intimidation and plain nastinest which exists where race, creed, colour and religion are placed at a deliberate disadvantage.

    As to arrogance, your obvious extreme self regard blinds you to your own shortcomings I’m afraid. I can see that you find it insulting, I just think you are too full of your own importance in finding it so. You haven’t been injured in any way by his article yet you seek to injure him by spurious allegation.

    Racism is too important an issue to be made trivial by your alleged example.

    As to the rest of your tirade and assumptions about me and the Welfare Class issue. You have massively missed the point. You have berated another contributor making statements which are exclusive and insentive and then launch into your own generalised distortion about a group of people who range from long term unemployed for their own reasons to long term unemplyed for reasons fully beyond their or anyone else’ control and say catagorically that they (being them all) fail to vote. By any test that is nonsense and proved wrong by people I have personal knowledge of. So it is alright for you to come out with bigoted distortion but racist for someone else.

    As to the immigrant vote issue, I have absolutely no idea what relevance that has.

    I don’t believe for a minute that you are an arrogant or entirely self unaware person, but you write as if you are. You do yourself and the serious issues involved a disservice by doing so.


  22. Full Stop. It is patently obvious to all but a fool that by ‘English’ he meant ‘British’. It is in fact racist to refer to the Welsh as English which, by using ‘English’ to describe British, he was doing. Whether you like that or not matters absolutely not one jot. If you think otherwise, come and live here in Wales and start referring to people as English. The Police will more than happily instruct you as to the error of your ways whilst holding you in custody as will the Racial Awareness instructors that the Courts will forward you to. Incidentally, a trial starts today in North Wales of an English pub landlord who tried to stop his staff and customers speaking welsh and the chaos that ensued from then on.

    As to the othe argument concerningf the welfare class. This is an accepted term, used by all political parties from the BNP through UKIP, both wings of the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Labour, Plaid, SNP and outwards to RESPECT. Therefore for you to not accept such a class exists or to refuse who they behave in elections as a group and not accept that their poor voter registration is only beaten by their even poorer turnoput beggars belief and suggests that you aren’t to savvy in the way voter demographics work across the UK. I brought immigrants into it because that is usually another load of bollcks quoted by the far Right – that immigrants prop the Labour vote up as do the welfare class. Immigrants likewise have a well below average voter registration and an even lower turnout.

    Somehow I am forming an opinion that you are either not British, or you are very politically naive. You certainly seem to have an appaling knowledge of how this country is set-up and how people behave electorally.


  23. Ok savep’, I know a brickwall when I see one. Most of what you said in your latest post is irrelevant to the issue and in particular the Landlord who would appear to have mental health issues,and all of your assumptions are just that, assumptions. If you don’t like it take some legal advice and come back on here when you have secured the conviction.

    Admit it, you are just a bully, you went shooting for rabbit for dinner and took an Elephant Gun. Mukoshi didn’t make clear what he meant and instead of enquiring politely you jumped in with both feet and arrogantly instructed him how to speak in future. Try that in some places in the UK and you’d be sitting on your backside pretty swiftly.

    Alternatively you could have explained why you were offended and enquired whether it was intended. Ok you would have caused a few titters around and about but at least it would have been proportional.

    As to Welfare, you still haven’t the wisdom to see the bigotry in your assertion that all of them fail to vote. Your original statement that was the case means either you do not know yourself how the term is used (clearly generically and very broadly) or intended it to mean a more limited definition. You can’t have it both ways. Members of the Welfare Class *do* vote. Some don’t. Those who do, might be offended at your sweeping generalisations which are derotgatory. But you are so preoccupied with your own sensitivities about origins you can’t see that.

    As to your invitation to visit Wales, I’ll decline thankyou, there are enough mischievous and divisive people where I am to contend with. Although it has to be said, I don’t know any who look so hard to be insulted as you do and none to give a toss whether they are referred to as English or Australian or Kiwi.

    You are part of the problem, not any solution.


  24. The landlord in question does not have mental health issues at all. And the PubCo that owns the pub has apologised profusely and has now put in place a policy that if the customers and staff wish to speak welsh – including to order food and drink, then they are allowed to without question.

    Most of the welfare class do not vote. End of. Their turn-out is so low that the urban myth that Labour relies on them is exactly that – a myth.

    The fact that you think it perfectly alright to use the wrong nationality to describe someone speaks volumes about you as a person. You would expect people to know that the nationality of UK subjects is not ‘English’ and that to describe it as such is insulting to rest. Or I suppose you think it;s perfectly aceptable to call a Canadian ‘American’ or a New Zealnder Australian.

    As to being bigoted about welfare, my sister is on disability as is one of my friends and many of my aquantances who have lost limbs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I don’t need top take legal advice regarding whether insulting the Welsh – even by calling them English is a racist offence – I have seen many arrests over it. The going rate off the beaks is £80 plus costs.

    I am now more convinced you are not British (or if you are you left years ago) because you don’t seem to have much of an idea about what is going on around this country.


  25. I’m so glad you popped your head up over the parapet again, and still firing off without any attempt at accuracy.

    Note, you now say “Most of the welfare class do not vote. End of.”

    But you didn’t say that did you? You said ‘they’, the ‘welfare class’ (meaning all) don’t vote. What does it take to get through your ignorance? Don’t start waffling about your injured mates from the Services. We all, sadly, have far too many of them. They are destined to be part of the welfare class you are condemning as non voters. They deserve a damn sight more than to be condemned and lumped into the ‘Welfare Class who don’t vote’ as you apparently utterly obliviously are doing.

    Wales, being part of the Uk, is subject to the same criminal laws in relation to racial offences as is England. You cannot be convicted of a criminal offence for saying, implying or mistaking someone who is Welsh as English. You are making it up again. Unless of course Wales is no longer a part of the UK in which case your whole argument, invented as it is, would fall apart anyway. But that is wholly irrelevant anyway.

    I’ll say once more, Mukoshi didn’t say you or any other Welsh person was English. Can you not read? Of course he made the cardinal sin of not mentioning the Welsh in specifics which is enough for a fanatic to make something of, guess what, one has. But it is not racism and it is not a criminal offence. In spite of your protestations you do need to get legal advice, I commend it, it might stop or curtail your fanatsy.

    As to the pub landlord, don’t be ridiculous. Of course he has mental health issues. Why else would any landlord of any national origin try to ban the local language from the local pub. It doesn’t matter what the pub owners said, of course they apologised, the landlord was obviously wrong and to be that wrong he’d have to be unwell. Especially with alert, diligent citizens like you on the case to make sure that anything wrong was put right. That you know he had no mental health issues means you had involvement in the case. Well done, I applaud your diligence. Unless of course you don’t know and are making it up again?

    As to your other waffling about describing someone from one nation as being from another. You may just be the most dangerous person at large when it comes to relationships between different nationals.For instance some find it difficult to differentiate between the Celtic regions, the Antipodeon regions and others besides. Happily if their ears have deceived them, any wrongly identified have had the confidence and maturity to say, “actually I’m from…..(fill in the gap” But then they didn’t have a superiority complex or an inferiority complex and didn’t hate everyone else for not falling at their feet and worshipping them because they were a Kiwi, or Aussie or any where else but in your case obviously, Welsh. ( I wouldn’t want to commit the cardinal sin of not mentioning your nationality) Had you thought of trying less hate and more co-operation?

    As to your continued guesswork and speculation, be assured you are as ignorant at that as you are at everything discussed here.

    You’re not well. I could recommend a good Doctor if you want, actually he is Welsh and one of the most sensible blokes I have ever met. On second thoughts, you wouldn’t want anything to do with him would you, he’d reveal just what a fraud you are.

    Now run along and stop trying to frighten the rest of us with how powerful you and your prejudices are in Wales. We have all been around and we know just how sensible the Welsh are. Funnily enough, just about the same as all other nationals in the UK. Now there’s something isn’t it?


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